Wake-Up Wednesday: PB&Joe

What could be a better pick-me-up than a drink twist reminiscent of a favorite childhood snack!

IMG_6276Book Bean: PB & Joe
This can be made with Brewed Coffee or Espresso as a base. Start with 1 scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream in a blender, add 2Tsp-1Tbsp of creamy peanut butter (to taste) last add very hot coffee or espresso, blend well until smooth. Pour into 1 large mug or 2 small mugs to share. Add steamed/frothed milk or hot cream to taste. Sprinkle with cocoa powder. (To make this drink cold just add PB to coffee and let cool before adding to blender, then use cold milk or cream.)

The perfect Book to pair with this bold and snacky drink, is something short and sweet/savory! 

My pick: “The Phantom Tollbooth” By Norton Juster 
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

A book that speaks universally to both children and adults. A story that like the old PB&J is a classic, full of both warmth and goodness.

Go on an adventure with Milo, as he discovers The Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping) and rescues Rhyme and Reason. You will discover like Milo does, that life is far from dull, but more interesting and exciting than you’ve ever imagined.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

A wee sample to wet your appetite:

You know you're in good hands when, in the midst of some 
nutty, didactic dialogue, the author disarms you.

"I guess I just wasn't thinking," said Milo.
"PRECISELY," shouted the dog as his alarm went off 
again. "Now you know what you mus do."
"I'm afraid I don't," admitted Milo, feeling quite stupid.
"Well," continued the watchdog impatiently, "since you 
got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that 
in order to get out, you must start thinking." And with that he 
hopped into the car.
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Timeless Summer-Time Tales

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Well it’s August… already, summer is hot beautiful and on it’s last leg. I put together a list of classic literature, all are perfect picks for summer days. I know which one I’m going to start on next!
What will you chose?

No one can capture a warm summer afternoon like Steinbeck

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck
A work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean. East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
This book is a perfect read for a long summer camp-out
Rated 4.7 amazon.com

The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare

After his ships and money are lost at sea, Antonio, a prominent Venetian merchant, cannot repay a loan to Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. Antonio must rely on an unexpected source, Shakespeare’s first great heroine, to save his skin, quite literally, in this tale of love, law, mercy, and revenge. Shylock, originally conceived as a bloodthirsty villain, has been later understood to be a far more sympathetic character, who challenges cultural stereotypes while reminding audiences to look beyond the barrier of ethnocentricity.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
A much loved and classic work of American literature. It is the story of Tom, a rambunctious young lad who lives with his Aunt Polly. Tom is a boy who doesn’t much like going to school and throughout the book does everything he can to get out of it. Near the beginning of the novel Tom exhibits his keen wit by convincing some boys to paint his Aunt Polly’s fence that he has been punished with having to do for skipping school.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
AND…
Huckleberry Finn

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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is considered by many to be the greatest of all American novels. This sequel to Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” is a first person narrative told by its title character. The novel picks up where “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” leaves off. Huck Finn who is now wealthy with the discovery of treasure at the end of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” finds himself in great danger from his abusive drunkard father who wishes to cash in on Huck’s fortune.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

hibiscus

Book Bean: Heavenly Huckleberry Hibiscus
In a saucepan bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers, turn off the heat and steep for for 30 minutes. Strain, add sweetener of choice (I prefer agave) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve: Fill glasses with ice. Fill half of the glass with iced tea. Add Huckleberries. Top with lemonade. Serve chilled.

chocolatChocolat: A Novel
by Joanne Harris
New York Times bestselling novel Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Her uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
or go for the whole trilogy:
The Girl With No Shadow
and
Peaches for Monsieur le Curé

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The Great Gatsby
by Fitzgerald
First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

5166-iXOB-LThe Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd
Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sister, Lily is introduced to their
mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. Set in South Carolina in 1964, This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Bee’s Knees Tea
A Prohibition Era cocktail made with Gin, fresh lemon juice, andhoney. It is served shaken and chilled, often with a lemon twist. Replace Gin with Green tea (or just add) and you have a nice refreshing drink for a warm evening.

alchemist

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

A fable about un-dauntingly following one’s dream, listening to one’s heart, and reading life’s omens features dialogue between a boy and an unnamed being. inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids.Rated 4.9 on amazon.com

Atonement: A Novel
by Ian McEwan
atonementA symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. In each of his novels McEwan has brilliantly drawn his reader into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he worked with so large a canvas: In Atonement he takes the reader from a manor house in England in 1935 to the retreat from Dunkirk in 1941; from the London’s World War II military hospitals to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999.
Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

Mosquitoland
by David Arnold

I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, Mosquitoland is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Iced Horchata Latte
ice-2571490_960_720.jpgHeat water, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes. Pour ice into a large pitcher and fill with ice, pour in 4-6 0z of brewed coffee or 2-4 espresso shots, add in rice milk. Stir sugar water into rice milk.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
A Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred
One of the best-loved stories of all time, it has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

What are your summer time classic recommendations?

 

America in Literature II

downloadThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here continues my list of quintessential American literary works:

PART II of II

The Things They Carried 

by Tim O’Brien
A classic, life-changing meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Catcher in the Rye
By J.D. Salinger
A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.
Wikipedia

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Moby Dick

By Melville
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by American writer Herman Melville, published in 1851 during the period of the American Renaissance.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The Crucible

By Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller’s play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau
An essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Sound and The Fury
By William Faulkner
The tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

 

America in Literature I

119001003406-originalThere is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…

Here is my list of the top quintessential American literary works:

PART I of II

Common Sense
By Thomas Pain
Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Benjamin Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold and fight for independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist. Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


By Mark Twain

One of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language, Twain’s novel can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but what’s undisputed is the novel’s position as one of the most influential books in American literature.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com10ca59f648094240a32e3146b99bce6c

Book Bean: Iced Huckleberry Hibiscus
Brew some hibiscus tea add honey to taste and chill. Lightly crush a handful of fresh huckleberries (raspberries or marion/black berries are great too). Add berries and ice to a tall glass and pour in chilled tea.

The Scarlet Letter
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, and is considered to be Hawthorne’s “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe

An anti-slavery novel published in 1852, the novel “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman.Wikipedia. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

green-spritzer-051-mbd109404_vertRated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Fitz Spritzer

Green tea chilled, fresh lime juice, sugar, and club soda. Pour mixture over ice and enjoy your own Green Rickey 😉 Make it fun, add an olive, lime wedges, and/or mint for garnish.


Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman

A visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Beloved

By Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery,  the novel is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Set after the American Civil War (1861-1865) this spellbinding novel transforms history into a powerful story as intimate as a lullaby.

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck
A Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
California Frappe

Cut off peel and white pith from 2-3 orange wedges. Bring 1/2 cup of dry red wine, 2 Tsp. of sugar, a grate of orange zest, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon to a simmer, add the orange wedges and simmer for approx. 10 min. mixture should reduce to a syrup, let chill. Pull 2 shots of espresso (or use 4 oz of brewed coffee chilled.) In a blender add ice, coffee, syrup (for an easier option use marmalade 😉 ), and milk (to taste) blend and enjoy!Frappe-1080x631

Stay tuned for PART II this evening!

While you wait vote for you favorite American Author 

 Share with us about your vote, what do you love about this author, and what makes them “A Great” in American literature?

 

Ten Timeless Dog Tales

 

18734_293820354503_1930542_nSince the day I met my beloved Brandy girl (aka wigglebutt)  I knew she was special to me and for the first time I truly understood the meaning and depth a pup can bring a person. I have hoped for some time since she died 8 years ago, that I would find another dog to share a connection with and companionship with, as rich as the one her life brought me.

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I never understood how beautiful and true the love between a dog and their person/family could be, until the day I met her.
Dogs are amazing creatures and capable of bringing so much joy and love. Lately I have had such a strong desire to bring a new dog into my life, and so I decided to channel that energy into a Mini Bean dedicated to our four legged friends.

 Here are 10 Dog Tales, the timeless and the touching:

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls
A beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and Dog. Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own, Old Dan and Little Ann, he’s ecstatic. It’s true that times are tough, but together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters, now friends, and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans
by W. Bruce Cameron
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

Check out the box set for the whole A Dog’s Purpose Series:
#1 A Dog’s Purpose
#2 A Dog’s Journey
#3 A Dog’s Way Home (forthcoming)

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

One Good Dog
by Susan Wilson
Adam March is a self-made Master of the Universe. He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. Until the day his assistant gives him a message: your sister called. No one knows that his sister has been missing for decades. Adam loses it, and he is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. At his lowest, Adam is assigned to community service in a soup kitchen. And this is where he crosses paths with Chance.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie
by Dean Koontz
A profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion. Bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldn’t be taught: her keen intelligence, her innate joy, and an uncanny knack for living in the moment.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

A Forever Home Novel Book Series
by Dan Walsh
download.jpgBook 1A great read for Dog Lovers everywhere (and those wanting to Honor our Wounded Warriors.)
Book 2: Every :  How could the life of a homeless man and the life of a young boy and his dog , Riley, possibly connect? Dan Walsh is a master at connecting the dots.
Book 3: A touching story that spans multiple generations and Covers such topics as Pet Rescue and training, Self-Defense, Bullying, and Relationships.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Old Yeller
by Fred Gibson
A timeless American classic and one of the most beloved children’s books ever written, Old Yeller is a Newbery Honor Book that explores the poignant and unforgettable bond between a boy and the stray dog who becomes his loyal friend. Fred Gipson’s novel is an eloquently simple story that is both exciting and deeply moving. Old Yeller stands as a beloved and enduring classic of literature

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Could Chew on ThisAnd Other Poems by Dogs
by Francesco Marciuliano
This canine companion to I Could Pee on This, The beloved volume of poems by cats, will have dog lovers laughing out loud. Doggie laureates not only chew on quite a lot of things, they also reveal their creativity, their hidden motives, and their eternal (and sometimes misguided) effervescence through such musings as “I Dropped a Ball,” “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House,” and “Can You Smell That?”

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Dog Who Saved Me
by Susan Wilson
Rescue comes in unexpected ways for one man and his dog. Cooper Harrison, a member of the Boston K-9 unit, never thought he would return to Harmony Farms. But when tragedy strikes and he loses his job, Cooper has no choice but to return to his hometown.Can a stray dog―a wounded and gun-shy yellow Lab gone feral―teach Cooper what it means to forgive and let go of the past. . . and help him to heal?

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
by Caronline Knapp
Author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, Carolyn found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of her parents, given up a 21 year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, “I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, i
n the face of such daunting vulnerability?”  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Marley and Me
by John Grogan
Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

What would you add to this list, do you know any amazing books a dog lover would appreciate?

Tell us about the special pet/s in your life?
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